Originally Posted by assassin
A little background: 5 bedroom house with finished basement. Basement is going to have a theater room so I won't need anything down there as far as separate audio goes. Upstairs I want to have audio in the hearth room and kitchen (basically 1 room) and 2-story great room and maybe the master bedroom. I also want the ability to have audio in a screened porch (when we are using it) and the bonus room (again, when we are using it). I am not going to spend hundreds of dollars on each speaker and will likely buy Monoprice 6.5" or 8" speakers if I go that route. I will have Cat6 in each room.
You're in the pre-wire stage - you should be wiring your house for both your immediate needs and for future flexibility. Follow the CEA standards (home run speaker wire, looped through a volume control/keypad location, with a cat5e in parallel), and run wire for speakers and keypads in as many rooms as feasible. You don't have to expose the wires or install speakers now. The wiring can all be documented / photographed, and buried behind the drywall so you don't have to stare at blank plates if you never use them...
Personally I think the wall keypad/controls are going to be extremely outdated in a few years (that is to say I really don't like them). With everything going the way of ipads, Nexus 7, etc there is just little reason to use this as part of the system, imo.
I disagree, I think the future is "both". But if you pre-wire, you'll have the option to use whatever the right answer is... Keypads will evolve just like mobile devices have. You don't carry around a 10-year-old pager, do you?
So if I went with three Play:5 in each of my definite zones ($400 x 3 = $1200) plus a Sonos Connect for $350 (so I can connect a HTPC to the unit). So that is a total of $1550. Then maybe 1 additional Play:3 or Play:5 as a "mobile" player that I could use in the screened porch, bonus room, garage, or wherever else I want to use it.
A mid-range HTD system with 4 pairs of Monoprice speakers is roughly $1700 plus a Sonos Connect ($350) which is around $2000. So figure that the cost is roughly equal.
The Sonos path to consider is a set of three Connect:Amp units, centrally located and run to in-ceiling speakers for your three zones. That gives you the source flexibility of three separate sources (unlike a single Connect routed to a WHA system like the HTD), and gets the speakers and equipment "out of the way".
That's going to be the difference - placement of a standalone unit like the Play may work fine for a bedroom, but not for many other rooms (the Dining room is the usual example).
I have also heard that the Play:5 sounds better than most inexpensive in-wall or in-ceiling speakers.
It may, depending on the room and placement possibilities. Which is why if you're going to go with inexpensive in-ceiling speakers, stick with the 6.5" ones, as it will be much easier to upgrade to something else in the future - as there are tons of other models that will fit in that hole (or a larger one) without having to patch and repaint the ceiling...
So where am I wrong or what haven't I thought about???
If something comes along better than the Sonos setup, you want your house wired for all the options.